Matthew Waisner is admittedly always looking for ways to take history out of the book.
"I love history...I'm always trying to find new ideas for living histories," said Waisner, the historic interpretation specialist for Historic Latta Plantation.
In fact, it was his idea to hold Latta's first Civil War mustering event, which drew 250 visitors on Feb. 20 and 170 visitors on Feb. 21.
A mustering event was a recruiting effort, in which a community would gather to see its men off to war. The Latta Plantation hosted the mustering of Company B, the Mecklenburg Grays of the 53rd North Carolina, who joined the Confederate army.
When the men mustered, they would be given a physical and taught how to carry a rifle. Early training exercises would also be started.
A mustering "would have been a big community function," Waisner said.
While the men were readied for battle, the women would enjoy picnics, visit and sew a flag to send off with the men when they left.
Waisner says early mustering events were "very well attended," as people had a strong "sense of patriotism...a sense of duty and honor."
It wasn't until the war had gone on for several years that drafting efforts were initiated.
Alongside the Confederate soldiers' training exercises, visitors to Latta Plantation could see Ian Campbell, in period dress, running a sutlery. Campbell, a former middle school history teacher, is a historic interpreter at Latta Plantation.
At the sutlery, soldiers could purchase anything the government didn't provide: tobacco, cigars, eggs, cheese, meat, candy and other snacks. Alcohol, however, could only be sold to officers.
Sutlers were "out to make money," Campbell said, and many wouldn't post their prices, deciding on a case-by-case basis what to charge.
Nicole Cheslak, executive director at Latta Plantation, said the weekend mustering event was a success and credits volunteers with making history come alive.
"We could not put on these great events without the wonderful volunteers and re-enactors that help us out," Cheslak said.
"They enable us to continue offering new events and programs to the community. Cultural events, like the ones held at Latta, are important to our community and enable visitors from all over to learn about our past."